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Vikings triumph over Chargers with long pass plays

Displaying its mastery in executing long passing plays, the Palo Alto High School Viking varsity football team (2-0) crushed the Leland High School Chargers (1-1), 38-20, in a fourth-quarter surge Friday night at Leland High School. 

According to Viking head coach David DeGeronimo, the Vikings had some phenomenal individual performances for their first away game of the season. 

“[Senior wide receiver] Jason [Auzenne] had an excellent game,” DeGeronimo said. “Whenever our backs were against the wall, we went for the pass. [Senior quarterback] Declan [Packer] was on fire these first two games, so we’re really excited about the future.”

Charger head coach Kelly King Jr. said the Chargers tried to counter the Viking’s roster strength.

“We watched the film, and we saw they had some good athletes,” King said. “We knew we had a challenge in front of us, so we just tried to scheme against that.”

During the first quarter, the offense on both teams showed their prowess. The Vikings immediately put their offensive game on display when Packer completed a 71-yard pass to Auzenne. Packer then rushed two yards, putting the Vikings ahead, 7-0, following an extra-point kick by senior kicker Gerardo Becerra. Following this, the Chargers executed a nine-play drive that resulted in their own touchdown, setting the score to 7-7. However, immediately after, Auzenne received the kickoff and ran 90 yards to score, making the score 14-7.

In the second quarter, offense continued to dominate. During the Vikings’ first possession, a 68-yard passing play from Packer to Auzenne resulted in another touchdown, putting the Vikings up 21-7. The Chargers responded with a series of running plays by senior running backs Chayse Swenson and Diego Vasquez, resulting in another touchdown. However, a missed extra-point kick only allowed the Chargers to bring the score to 21-13. In the last drive of the half, a 57-yard running play by Viking senior running back Jeremiah Madrigal, followed by a field goal from Becerra, set the score at 24-13.

In the third quarter, defense brought the offensive drives of both teams to a crawl. However, the Chargers showed the potential for a comeback after a drive with 11 running plays, closing the gap to 24-20. 

In response to the narrowing score gap, the Vikings offense and defense shut-down the Chargers lineup in the final quarter. A 42-yard passing play from Packer to junior wide receiver Jeremiah Fung resulted in another touchdown, setting the score to 31-20. In the following drive by the Chargers, Viking senior defensive end Orasio Becerra forced Charger junior quarterback Jacob Gibson to fumble, and Viking senior defensive end Anthony Landa recovered the ball. A 42-yard passing play from Packer to junior tight end Joseph Kessler followed by a 2-yard rush by junior running back Isaiah Walker resulted in the final touchdown of the game, setting the score at 38-20. A last effort by the Chargers to score was subdued when Viking junior cornerback Erik Taylor intercepted a pass from the Chargers.

Viking senior cornerback JJ Ball said that the coaches were instrumental to their preparation for this match.

“I want to shout out to our coaches,” Ball said. “They really helped us prepare our defense. We watched a lot of film, and I feel like these are the most intelligent coaches I’ve ever had. Everything that they tell us in the film room correlates into the field, and I especially saw that tonight.”

According to DeGeronimo, even after this victory, the Vikings will still strive to refine various facets of its performance in preparation for the future. 

“Our goal is to improve every day,” DeGeronimo said. “Nothing stays the same. You’re either getting better or worse, so we want to get better every single day.”

The Vikings are scheduled to play their next non-league match at 7 p.m. Saturday against the Sacred Heart Prep Gators (1-1) at home.

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Game Statistics (Courtesy of Voice reporters) 

Vikings: 225 rushing yards, 273 passing yards, 16 first downs, 2 fumbles, 1 interception

Chargers: 247 rushing yards, 48 passing yards, 23 first downs, 1 fumble, 0 interceptions

Player Stats (MaxPreps)

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About the Contributor
Maxwell Zhang
Maxwell Zhang, Senior Staff Writer
Maxwell Zhang (Class of 2024) joined The Voice his sophomore year and wishes to pursue management and STEM in college.

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